Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba

Genre(s): Shonen, Action, Supernatural, Historical

Age-Appropriateness: 16+ (Violence, frightening imagery, mild profanity)

Platforms: Netflix, Hulu, Crunchyroll, Funimation

Episodes:  26

TheAwersome Rating: 9.2 / 10 (Definitely worth your time)

Premise:  Ever since the death of his father, the burden of supporting the family has fallen upon Tanjirou Kamado’s shoulders. Though living impoverished on a remote mountain, the Kamado family enjoy a relatively peaceful and happy life. One day, Tanjirou decides to go down to the local village to make a little money selling charcoal. On his way back, night falls, forcing Tanjirou to take shelter in the house of a strange man, who warns him of the existence of flesh-eating demons that lurk in the woods at night.

When he finally arrives back home the next day, he is met with a horrifying sight—his whole family has been slaughtered. Worse still, the sole survivor is his sister Nezuko, who has been turned into a bloodthirsty demon. Consumed by rage and hatred, Tanjirou swears to avenge his family and stay by his only remaining sibling. Alongside the mysterious group calling themselves the Demon Slayer Corps, Tanjirou will do whatever it takes to slay the demons and protect the remnants of his beloved sister’s humanity.

TheAwersome’s Thoughts: You’ve likely seen or heard some flavor of hype about this show within the last year or so, and I’d say about 90% of that hype is deserved. Studio Ufotable’s animation coupled with Yuki Kajiura’s music work to immerse you quickly and effectively. Especially in the first twenty or so episodes, each one would either give me full-body goosebumps, make me very emotional, or both. While there is a back and forth of episodes with gruesome violence and border-line horror to the “in-between” episodes with obnoxious characters for breathing space, I feel they compliment each other for the most part.

TLDR: An intense shonen that keeps the genre relevant.

I feel Demon Slayer is what Naruto fans remember Naruto being: Intense action sequences involving historical Japanese warriors, emotional scenes, and the occasional dorky shonen funnies. Except Demon Slayer delivers on that in spades. Animation is absolute top quality, pacing doesn’t drag, and for the most part the shonen funnies provide a good dynamic that keep the intense parts intense, rather than being a distraction or filler.

I do have one complaint about the translations/localizations and that’s how much they translate over some specific Japanese Yokai. Oni is translated as Demon, Tengu is translated as Goblin, which aren’t entirely accurate. In English the word Demon tends to refer to either a spirit or creature/beast that lives in Hell or is otherwise decidedly satanic and evil. Oni are more like horned ogres or trolls that while they historically have been used as villains in stories, aren’t as black and white as the English “Demon.”

As for Tengu, it’s less important, but it’s another kind of Japanese avian spirit that is often depicted as being a red-skinned human with a long nose. While their identity and role has fluctuated a lot throughout history, one of the stronger characteristics is being a guardian protector of the mountains. This makes sense considering who in the show wears a Tengu mask, and none of that nuance is translated by calling it a “Goblin Mask.” Weeby rant over.

There is a movie, Demon Slayer: Mugen Train, that is so far the #1 Movie to ever happen in Japan. Better box office than Spirited Away, Titanic, any movie ever. Tickets go on sale for the US screening on April 9, and the movie itself will be in Theaters on April 23, and digital platforms June 22.

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